Fox News headquarters with billboards of hosts and the street signs at the corner of Fox Square.
Fox News Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, New York, February 17, 2021. Credit: Massimo Giachetti / iStockphoto

(CNN) — A last-second settlement has been reached in the historic defamation case between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems, the parties announced Tuesday in court.

“The parties have resolved their case,” Superior Court Judge Eric Davis said.

“Your presence here… was extremely important. And without you, the parties would not have been able to resolve their situation,” the judge told the jurors, before dismissing them.

The settlement between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems totals $787,500,000, according to Dominion attorney Justin Nelson.

The settlement represents “vindication and accountability,” Nelson said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems,” Fox News said in a statement. “We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects FOX’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”

The settlement was apparently brokered while the trial was on the brink of opening statements in Wilmington, Delaware. After swearing in the jury earlier Tuesday, an unexplained hours-long delay paused proceedings in court, which yet again triggered rampant speculation that a deal was quietly in the works.

The last-minute deal means the closely watched case is effectively over and won’t proceed to trial. By settling with Dominion, influential Fox News executives and prominent on-air personalities will be spared from testifying about their 2020 election coverage, which was filled with lies about voter fraud.

Reporters and members of the public line up early to enter the Leonard Williams Justice Center where Dominion Voting Systems is suing FOX News in Delaware Superior Court on April 18, 2023 in Wilmington, Delaware. Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages because it claims it was defamed by FOX when the cable network broadcast false claims that it was tied to late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, that it paid kickbacks to politicians and that its voting machines were ‘rigged’ and switched millions of votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In its lawsuit, Dominion sought $1.6 billion in damages from Fox News. The right-wing network argued vociferously in pretrial proceedings that this number was inflated and didn’t come close to accurately capturing the potential losses that Dominion could have suffered as a result of Fox’s 2020 broadcasts.

Fox News and Fox Corporation — its parent company, which was also a defendant — say they never defamed Dominion, and say the case is a meritless assault on press freedoms. They denied Dominion’s claim that they promoted these election conspiracies to save their falling ratings after the 2020 election.

While the Dominion case is now over, Fox News is still facing a second major defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic, another voting technology company that was smeared on Fox shows after the 2020 election. That case is still in the discovery process, and a trial isn’t expected anytime soon.